Monday, July 25, 2005

The League Journeys to BMT
a full report

As Jamie and I drove away from the airport today, heading home from our fabulous weekend, Jamie turned to me and said, "You really can't write anything funny about the weekend. Jim will hang himself."

True enough, I suppose. But the weekend was terribly fun, even if my personal amusement was at the expense and discomfort of others. Why? It's always about The League, here at The League.

This fine weekend, The League dumped off the pets at the PetsMart PetsHotel, jumped a plane and took a small journey to Spring, TX. We then popped over to Beaumont for the first ever Assemblage of Loyal Leaguers.

We arrived in Houston on Thursday, just in time for dinner. Had dinner with The League's parental units in their palatial suburban abode, hung out and rapped for a bit, and then toddled off to bed.

Friday was a day of slack. The League crawled out of bed, lurched downstairs and came face to face with young Kelsey B., my folk's two-year-old next door neighbor. Kelsey is about 22" of pure dynamo, and we're all expecting big things out of her.

Dad and I sort of puttered and drank coffee, tried to do a headcount of who the hell all was coming to dinner my mother had planned, and then Jamie and I took to the pool at the Spring, TX annex of League HQ. The pair of us bobbed and floated, took in some daylight (which, refreshingly, wasn't cooking the meat off of our bones) and then chilled. The Admiral and I set sail for ice cream and ice, and made a side-trip for me over to Bedrock City Comics (a fine, fine chain of comic shops in Houston) where I picked up the seminal "Last Superman Story" issue, a signed John Bryne comic and a TPB of "Stray Toasters" which I had been looking for for about 15 years.

The admiral shook his head in disappointment and we headed for Kroger to get Vanilla and Magic Shell.

Loyal Leaguers Shannon C. and Josh Q. Lowry showed up first, followed quickly by John and Julie B. (married just this spring). Jason arrived in short order with Cassidy the three-legged dog in tow. Completing the massing, Peabo arrived with his long-suffering wife and utterly confused sister-in-law (who is in our fair nation studying up on her English).

I tried to catch up with as many folks as possible, but it was a bit of physical challenge, given how I hadn't seen most of the folks represented in many months. Nonetheless, the company of all in attendance was appreciated. We staye dup too late and talked possibly too much.

Saturday we all finally got out of bed, showered, ate and hit the road for BMT.

As Loyal Leaguers will be able to tell you, Jim D. is involved with the Board of Directors at Beaumont's historical Jefferson Theater. He's been involved with the Summer Film Series at the Jefferson, and, as such, had secured a print of the director's cut of the 1978 film masterpiece, Superman: The Movie.

With Steanso, Jamie and The League in one car, and Peabo, wife and sister-in-law in the other, we made it to BMT far later than originally planned. But that's the magic of trying to politely wrangle that many people, all of whom are there because they want to say hello to you, and all of whom have said they want to go along with your hare-brained scheme to see the Superman movie.

Well, something also got lost in the translation (literally) as Jeff explained to Adriana and Lucy that we were going to a Sneak Preview of "the new Superman movie." Jeff's not a "details" sort of guy, I suppose, and the change fo plans didn't bother him. Further, he'd promised a beach to Adriana and Lucy, but a beach was not to be had. Alas.

Anyhoo, our merry troop met up with Jim D. and at Carlo's Ristorante in Beaumont, and for the first time, I met RHPT.

Firstly, Randy is exactly the same height I thought he'd be. No taller nor shorter. Nor larger nor smalled. His photographs pretty much tell the whole picture. What the photos can't convey is that Randy's a very nice, sharp guy with an odd tale to tell about a flood in his house.

We had a lovely lunch at Carlo's, then headed over to Jim's preferred comic shop, at which I found a few Superman comics which I snatched up immediately. One of which was the classic "Kryptonite No More" comic from back in the day, which I suspect was a bit underpriced.

From there we took a colorful tour of the back streets of BMT, trying to get around a train. I thought maybe Jim planned to kill us all and dump our bodies in the tall grass, but we eventually did located the Jefferson Theater.

The Stately Jefferson Theater

The Marquee announcing a line-up sure to make fanboys wet themselves

Let me state that The Jefferson easily rivals Austin's Paramount Theater in it's decor and venerable charm.

We entered the lobby to the sound of pipe-organ music, which Steanso pointed out was playing "YMCA". The Jefferson employs an organist, a wonderful gentleman we had opportunity to speak with, who also had music for Superman, which he had mastered.

I was disappointed only in that I don't live in BMT and will not be there in the next few weeks for the Wild West Series which he has promised to preceed with "The Magnificent Seven" and other great themes from some of my favorite movies.

There was a very nice man playing the organ, but, clearly, he was not playing when I went downstairs to get a picture.

We were also referred to a few pizza joints in town and told to ask for specific organists. So Jamie and I are actually going to go to Pipe Organ Pizza this weekend if Lou is playing. Should be fun.

Jim suggested we go to the balcony for the best view and to get a nice, old-timey theatrical experience, so we went upstairs and selected some seats.

Included in this shot are some of the pipes to the pipe organ. Plus an idea of how nice the interior is at the Jefferson. Shot, I might add, from the balcony.

Jamie demonstrates the proper enthusiasm for Superman: The Movie

The lights dimmed, we took our seats and the movie began.

Look, sometimes things happen nobody can control, and, people, it's not Jim's fault. But just as the Planet Krypton exploded into a radioactive mass, hurling kryptonite chunks to the far reaches of space, the projector died. Or, more accurately, the shutter broke on the projector.

The organist leapt back to his position and kids began dancing around the theater, some family stole our seats and Randy fell asleep, complaining of exhuastion.

Steanso eagerly awaits the next reel of the film.

But, as I say, sometimes things happen.

Sadly, the film could not be shown, and we all got refunds.

The League Assembles!
left to right,, Steanso, Lucy, Adriana, Peabo, Mrs. League

Jim had some business to take care of at the theater, so we abandoned him and took our ticket money and headed for Crockett Street where we holed up for the next few hours and drank beer and chatted.

All said, we had a really good time talking to Jim and meeting Randy. It was a heck of a lot of fun to actually see each other and not rely on comments sections and e-mail to communicate.

Jim has apologized, and it's totally unnecessary. He's a champ for getting the film in the first place, and we all apprecaite the work he did. Sometimes technical glitches happen.

Anyhoo, we were SUPPOSED to fly out Sunday morning, but Jamie wasn't feeling well at all, so we delayed and flew out today instead.

So, long story short, I spent Sunday chilling out with my mom.

Anyway, thanks again to all Loyal Leaguers who could participate, and special thanks to Jim for making the whole thing possible. You're #1 in my book.

Why city authorities have requested Superman just fly over intersections instead of pressing the button and waiting for the cross-walk.

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